Farmers demand rollback of draft licensing guidelines for genetically modified crops

Seven leading farmer organisations voiced the demand for rollback of the draft Licensing Guidelines as well as the format for GM technology agreements.

Seven leading farmer organisations on Wednesday voiced the demand for an immediate rollback of the draft Licensing Guidelines as well as the format for GM technology agreements issued by Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Ministry. The guidelines issued in May are now up for public comments. A consortium of these farmer organisations, under the aegis of Rashtriya Progressive Kisan Association (RPKA), on Wednesday submitted to the ministry a petition signed by over 3,25,000 farmers.

The petition alleged that "arbitrary controls" will impact research and development of technologies, which will have a profound impact on Indian agriculture, a RPKA release said here. An RKPA delegation also met senior officials in the ministry and National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog. "If India needs to assure its citizens of sustainable food security and low food inflation, it needs to help farmers by allowing research and development (R&D) of seeds for both cash and food crops, both by public and private technology providers," the release said.

The petition said it was voicing the demand of farmers from across the country. It urged the government to not get swayed by the anti-technology lobby and ensure timely approvals for commercialisation of new crops that mitigate the adverse effects of climate change, increased pest attacks and reduced soil fertility. The release claimed support of individual leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party, Shiv Sena and the Rashtriya Janata Dal.


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